Since it’s composition as a poem by Carl Boberg in Sweden more than a century ago this beloved hymn has passed through several renditions, translations and editors. Our most popular English version was translated and added to by Stuart Hine in 1949. This single song is likely sung by more churches around the world in more languages than any other hymn. Have a blessed Lord’s day1
Written in 1873 by Francis Havergal this hymn is more than mere words. The message of her surrender to God’s will resonated through more than the melody. Four years after writing this hymn Francis Havergal donated all her considerable jewelry to a mission organization. Here are her own words, “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary”
There is no greater peace than can be found in such surrender and no worship more pure than when we truly yield to God our life that He may chose for us the path ahead!
Jesus is waiting in His garden, will you keep the appointment today?
Our hymn for Sunday morning this week is the classic, “The Old Rugged Cross” This powerful song was written by George Bennard and first performed by him with guitar accompaniment in 1913. “The Old Rugged Cross” has been a part of communion services, revivals and altar calls for over a hundred years.What a blessing to sing along the simple yet profound lyrics!
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me
As we waited for the baptisms to begin the church gathered by the side of the stream and sang. While the notes gently lifted above the gentle sound of the water passing over the rocks a moment of faith was commemorated. Those who had come to be baptized would always remember the songs sung that day. The songs gave a voice to their invisible faith.
Why is it that singing seems to tune our spiritual antenna to hear the sounds of heaven? What is it about music that makes a connection in our hearts to those worshiping around us? In fact if we were to open our hymn books and the Biblical hymnal, called the Psalms,we would find that the history of God’s people is inscribed page by page with their songs.
Though music is a gift which like any other can be used outside of its God given purpose, it is also a vehicle by which we may discover the presence of our Lord. The musical staff is in some ways like Jacob’s ladder (staircase in some translations). On that stairway were angels descending and ascending to God who stood at its top. Our voices, when linked with our faith can join with the notes as they ascend and bring from our hearts a message of praise which God hears. On that same staircase comes echoing down in return the voice of our Father which calms every storm, awakens new joy and reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Singing is in fact an act of faith. When we open our mouth to sing we both connect back to our first childlike step of faith and strain forward towards our heavenly goal. We cannot see yet what heaven will be but the accompaniment of angels’ songs can draw us forward. I am reminded of a dear elderly saint who was found passed out on the floor by her sister. The ambulance was called and Florence was taken to the hospital where after several days she regained her strength and returned home. Florence told us that while she was unconscious she began to hear the angels singing and felt them coming closer. She said that the song grew louder and louder but then suddenly it faded and then she opened her eyes and woke up. Since she had grown up in the Polish church I was interested to know if God would have His angels singing in her childhood language or in English. But Florence said it was in neither language rather in some heavenly tongue which was completely different from anything she knew!
I have never forgotten Florence’s angels and their heavenly song. I sometimes wish that one day day I will be singing here and that if I should die in that moment that I would be able to finish the last verse in Heaven. God has given us song for just such an encouragement and a help for our faith. Just as faith without works is dead, faith without words is yet unborn. Is there any greater catalyst to our confession of faith than the music of the hymns? It is a new day today for each of us. Wherever you are or whatever you face you have a choice to sing and give voice to your faith.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Matthew 26:30
On the night when Judas betrayed Him; the disciples spent part of their time at the table arguing over who was the greatest and Peter almost refused the foot washing that Jesus offered. Jesus knowing that on the following day beatings, denials,spitting, nails and the cross awaited gathered the disciples together and sang a hymn.
Though we cannot know for a certainty which of the Psalms Jesus sang, it was tradition for a group of Psalms beginning with Psalm 113 to be sung at Passover. Imagine for a moment these as the opening words with the disciples joining voices with Jesus. Imagine the notes echoing as they descended the stairs from the upper room and walked up the darkening streets toward the Mount of Olives.
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
Have you joined your voice with His yet today as you go out to whatever awaits? What better time can there be to sing?